This "hot Jupiter" planet could shed light on how solar systems are formed.
We all know the scene from Star Wars where Luke Skywalker gazes at the binary stars of his home planet of Tatooine, but now scientists have found a planet that has his beat — it has THREE stars.
It wouldn’t exactly be a pleasant planet to live in. First of all, it wouldn’t have a solid surface, and it would also be scorchingly hot — way beyond what any human could survive, according to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
Researchers there announced that they had found a triple-star system, and a gas giant planet similar in size to Jupiter that they have called KELT 4AB.
This gas giant orbits its parent star once every three days. Two other stars also orbit around this main star.
Scientists used the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) to discovery the exoplanet. Researchers had known about the KELT-4 system, but they hadn’t realized it was a triple-star system until now.
Scientists believe that the binary pair of stars is much further out, orbiting KELT-4A every 4,000 years or so at about eight times the distance Pluto is from our sun.
KELT-4AB would be about 50 percent bigger than Jupiter, and would be orbitied KELT-4A at a much closer distance. Because it is so close, its atmosphere would have greatly inflated.
It’s only the fourth exoplanet found in a stable orbit around a multi-star system.